John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): I thank the Secretary of State for her comments in respect of what the Government wish to see. Why would they not wish to see a ceasefire without the return of the soldiers?
Margaret Beckett: Everyone wants to see a cessation of violence as soon as possible. Many of the other routes that one could urge—the international community is urging them, and exploring and trying to develop them, and looking at the detail—will take time. It will be complicated and difficult to work them out and to pursue them. Releasing kidnapped soldiers is not difficult at all, and takes no time at all.
This was yesterday's exchange. The UN report that a third of the deaths in Lebanon are children. The government do not support a ceasefire until the kidnapped soldiers are returned.
Failing to support a ceasefire in this situation is in essence supporting the consequences of military action until such a stage as the kidnapped soldiers are released viz the killing of the children.
It is quite clear, therefore, that the government support the killing of children in Lebanon until such a stage as the soldiers are released.
Previously the government have argued.
- That they would not call for just one side to stop firing
- They could not influence Hezbollah
- They cannot control Israel
(update at 8.42 - I have just heard the government calling for a "Sustainable Ceasefire" on the TV. Their definition of "sustainable", clearly is one whereby the soldiers have been returned. This really shows how bad the TV are at holding the government to account. Jeremy Paxman, one presumes, would ask: "do you believe this" rather than "define sustainable".)